Contract is set for County Road 306 near Parachute, but some details still not finalized |

Contract is set for County Road 306 near Parachute, but some details still not finalized

John Colson
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

A county road that has been closed for more than a year, due to a failed pipe-laying project and subsequent legal wrangles, apparently is not as close to being reopened as some had hoped.

The Garfield County commissioners on July 6 authorized a contract to rebuild County Road 306 near Parachute, at a cost of more than $116,000.

And residents living along the road say they had hoped that the reconstruction effort would start earlier in the summer.

But as of Thursday, Johnson Construction Co. of Rifle had not received any official word of the contract or when it could start work, and the attorneys involved with protracted negotiations about the project said they weren’t finished yet.

“I think we’re still finalizing some items, but … it’s something that should be completed and resolved soon, and everybody can move on,” said Grand Junction attorney Jenna Keller, who represents the Dutton/Dixon family in a dispute over rights of way and other matters.

“We’re optimistic that we’re going to be able to resolve these issues with the county,” Keller concluded, adding on Thursday that she had sent the last of the paperwork on the issue to Garfield County Attorney Don DeFord.

DeFord agreed on Wednesday that the final paperwork should be finished, and the project set in motion, within a matter of days.

“It should happen, here, any day,” DeFord said from his office on Wednesday, where he was awaiting delivery of documents from Keller’s office. He was not in the office on Thursday to answer questions about the paperwork shuffle.

The main unresolved issue, DeFord said, is construction easements to determine exactly where the road is to be built.

County Road 306, which loops southward from CR 300 west of Parachute, runs up along the Wallace Creek drainage, over a dividing ridge and returns down the Spring Creek drainage. The ends of the loop connect with CR 300 at two points about a half mile apart.

In 2008, the Noble Energy company was attempting to lay a pipeline under the roadway, near the furthest point on 306 Road from the intersection with 300 Road, to carry natural gas from nearby wells.

But a subcontractor working on the project damaged the road so badly that it had to be closed for safety reasons, according to county officials.

Then, as officials tried to determine what to do next, a dispute arose over whether the road followed its legal right of way.

The road was deeded to the county by area rancher Norm Dutton, but the county belatedly realized that the deed had never been properly recorded.

The county had to negotiate with the Dixon family, who owns land along 306 Road, to establish an agreed-upon right of way, among other issues.

The delay in getting the road fixed and open has caused considerable concern to the families in the area, particularly to the two daughters of Norm Dutton – Linda Dixon and Dorothy Nauroth – whose ranches abut the road. Both women have been in touch with county officials and have spoken to the local media in their efforts to get the road fixed and reopened.

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